December 31, 2020

Introduction: Respiratory failure is an uncommon but important complication in pregnancy and the postpartum period, occurring 1 in 500 pregnancies.1 Respiratory failure can result from pregnancy-related conditions, conditions exacerbated by pregnancy, or pathologies common to the general population (Table 1). Understanding of respiratory failure and mechanical ventilation in pregnant patients is limited by the relative rarity of the condition as well as the exclusion or underrepresentation of pregnant patients in the majority of the trials that have informed our understanding of respiratory failure. As such, respiratory failure in this vulnerable population is a stressful emergency that requires understanding of the anatomical and physiological changes of gestation as well as meticulous preparation for a difficult airway. 

August 10, 2015

  You have just intubated a seizing eclamptic woman who is 34 weeks pregnant. As she is being prepped for transfer to the OB unit for an emergent C-section your nurse asks you what medications you would like for post intubation analgesia and sedation. You have limited recollection of whether Propofol crosses the placenta, and have legitimate concerns about Fentanyl’s chances of producing a ‘floppy baby’ for the OB team on delivery. The literature on the most appropriate post intubation analgesia / sedation package for late pregnancy patients is limited. The agents we are the most familiar with in the emergency department for post intubation sedation and analgesia are Fentanyl and Propofol. One reliable mantra for post intubation analgesia and sedation is 'Fentanyl is the sauce, and Propofol is the oregano', it would be great to be able to apply this mantra to the pregnant population also.